Roger von Oech

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Michael Buckingham


It's easy for a guy like me to say such things..but you could easily mark it up to jealousy, I only have 1 award (not many competitions for church marketing)...

What surprises me is that these awards aren't connected to effectiveness. How can you award the new business card as the best in the world, if no one you've given one to has called you?

In the design world it's hurting the end product and it's catching up with us. We have logo farms because people think a logo just has to look good and doesn't have to be original or communicative.

John E.

MIT's new Frank Gehry building comes to mind. See (for example):,,2206328,00.html

On a smaller scale: my Sharp Zaurus PDA has jaw-dropping functionality entangled in an awkward and fragile user interface. I'd love to use it more, but have to admit it's become little more than a conversation piece.


Many years experience serving on architectural and planning awards juries, and involved in running a number of programs, demonstrated far too many designs that were, for the designer, all about them and their (hoped for) fame - meeting client needs, budget, environment and community, or even really good physical and emotional design criteria be damned.

A brief set of concise design evaluation criteria were codified in the 1960’s at Caudill Rowlett Scott architects (CRS-Houston) under the leadership of Bill Caudill and other partners. The criteria have “legs” for consideration of the value of ANY creative endeavor (translated for the media and mode, of course). CRS posited eight NECESSARY criteria – all must be satisfactorily addressed for a building to be considered even “satisfactory”: Concept, Structure, Physical Environment, Emotional Environment, Materials, Refinement, Space, and Land. The success, or lack thereof, in application to a design, can be addressed prior to and during design, not just afterward (although the true test is in actual use – not just a “paper design”), by a review of all aspects of the design’s Function, Form, and Economy.

I keep testing the criteria and the review set, and still find it among the best I've seen to date!


I'll have to think about my personal experiences-- given my predominant role as a mom right now, it'll probably be a list of toys. But perhaps the larger question at work here is whether any of the awards should be in a competition for "Most effective/relevant/pragmatic/ meaningful/applicable award."

That's right-- the International Award Awards! Think of the possibilities! Or, not....

Shakespeare's Fool

I thought you might find the comment on Apple's creative strategy of interest. What are your thoughts?

Shakespeare's Fool


Try the Nobel Prize in Economics. I suggest it not from personal experience or my own knowledge but from reading investors/traders/speculators such as Nassim Nicholas Taleb (he of "Fooled by Randomness" and "The Black Swan") who have directly attacked the work of some recipients. (See Taleb in the Financial Times (Free, registration required:
Also some economists have said that the prize has gone to economists whose theories contradict the theories of other economists who have won the prize.


Roger von Oech

Michael: "How can you award the new business card as the best in the world, if no one you've given one to has called you?" What a great line! I agree with you about the logo farms.

John E.: Certainly not the kind of publicity (bad, negative) Gehry is used to, that's for sure. Too bad about your Sharp PDA.

Randy: "Far too many designs that were, for the designer, all about them and their (hoped for) fame" Also, thanks for sharing the CRS evaluation criteria.

Shelbey: You're getting pretty metaphysical on us! : - )

Roger von Oech

Shakespeare's Fool: Ah, yes Apple. Many cool products and designs. I've been an Apple user since 1981. But sometimes they're too clever, e.g., the one-button mouse, the Cube-shaped computer, and the keyboard on the iPhone (when it's in the vertical position).

As far as the Apple business strategy as laid out in the link you sent me: I disagree with their assessment. I don't see what Apple is doing as ethereal or magic. They correctly saw in 2001 (or maybe earlier) the digital direction that many consumer digital appliances were heading and positioned themselves accordingly.

Roy Jacobsen

When it comes to design, I feel a bit like the guy in the art gallery, frowning at some piece of modern art and saying "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like." I don't know much about design, but I know when I have a product that works, and one that doesn't.

For example, the power button on our home theater system lights up when the system is OFF; on every device I've had prior to that, if the power switch lit up at all, it was when the thing was ON. What's with that reversal? It had to be a design decision, but what logic would turn years of consumer device convention on its end like that?

Another example: I was recently trying to cancel an online service. I hadn't used it it a while, and the credit card information for my account was out of date. When I called the Customer Service line to cancel, the automated system figured out who I was based on the phone I was calling from, and it knew that my account information was out of date. I was forced to update my credit card information, even though the sole purpose of my call was to cancel my account. I wasn't presented with any other options.

That (and similar voice response hell scenarios) was the result of a lack of design of the machine-customer interaction.

So it seems we're battling on two fronts: Things that are designed with awards, not with the consumer, in mind; and things that aren't designed at all.

Which is worse?


The Schick Intuition I right ladies?


I was kind of thinking about a tv show with someone being pregnant.

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